The Impact of MOOC Blended Instruction to Teach Programming

Velma Latson

Web 2.0 software applications are influencing the change from formal, traditional learning environments that are instructor-directed to more student-centered /open- learning environments where learns have more control. In student-centered/open-learning environments, the focus is on the learner and their ability to use thinking skills to solve problems. Teachers are no longer the authority in the classroom, but co-learners and guides while learners are making their own discoveries (Brown, 2000) about what is important in the learning experience. Learners are encouraged to use prior background knowledge of content to collaborate with experts and peers and new Web 2.0 software applications are making this more open.

MOOCs are web 2.0 teaching applications that are connecting people throughout the world into one classroom environment. MOOCs help learners collaborate, explore and create artifacts that will help them acquire the critical thinking skills to expand their learning. These new theories for instruction using computer technology and social software applications are changing the way people interact in society and gain knowledge in educational environments. New computer software applications are socially constructed for the user’s ability to collaborate and exchange ideas with others.

The University System of Maryland (USM) and Ithaka S+R (2013), initiated a research study on how effective different online learning platforms would be on student outcomes and could these different platforms reduce costs for students enrolled in traditional institutions. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the impact of using the MOOC in a blended instructional environment to teach programming to undergraduate, non-STEM major students. The presentation will describe the lessons learned from implementing MOOC blending instructional environments in a side by side comparison of approximately 100 student participants in the experimental group learning to program from the MOOC and approximately 100 students in the control group learning to program in a traditional classroom setting.

Brown, J.S. (2000). Growing up digital: how the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. [Electronic version] Change Mar/April.
Ithaka S+R. (2013). Interim Report: A Collaborative Effort to Test MOOCs and Other Online Learning Platforms on Campuses of the University System of Maryland.

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